Rail campaigners have condemned a suggestion from Transport Secretary Chris Grayling that the money saved by deferring electrification to Bath and Bristol Temple Meads could be spent on the troubled Metrobus scheme instead.
Nigel Bray from Railfuture Severnside said:
“Bristol’s transport problems won’t be solved by diverting funds from railways to buses.” said . “Trains and buses serve very different travel markets. Buses make more frequent stops to cater for very local journeys but they are less attractive to anyone in a hurry. Rail has a proven record in attracting people away from their cars. Just look at the growth in usage of Bristol’s 12 stations, which has tripled over the last twenty years
“When the Government announced in November that electrification was being deferred, it promised to reinvest the savings of £165m on improvements across the whole rail system. It should stick to its promises. Bristol’s rail network needs a major upgrade to bring it up to the standard of those in other major UK conurbations.”
Nigel added that Mr. Grayling had failed to grasp that rail electrification would bring other benefits.
“Electric trains are more reliable, cheaper to run, they’re lighter and of course there’s the pollution issue too. Bristol and Bath both have Air Quality Management Areas where pollution levels are considered to be a health risk. It makes no sense not to electrify the main lines into cities which have a vast number of commuters and visitors.”